The ketogenic diet (or keto diet) is a low-carb, high-fat diet with numerous health benefits.
Indeed, numerous studies show that this type of diet can assist you in losing weight and improving your health.
Ketogenic diets may also help with diabetes, cancer, epilepsy, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Here’s a comprehensive guide to the keto diet for beginners.
What exactly is a ketogenic diet?
The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that is similar to the Atkins and low-carb diets.
It entails drastically lowering carbohydrate consumption and replacing it with fat.
This causes your body to become extremely efficient at burning fat for energy. It also converts fat to ketones in the liver, which can provide energy to the brain.
Blood sugar and insulin levels can be significantly reduced by following a ketogenic diet. This, along with increased ketones, has some health advantages.
Different types of the ketogenic diet
The ketogenic diet is available in several variations, including:
The standard ketogenic diet (SKD) is a low carbohydrate, moderate protein, and high-fat diet. It is typically composed of 70% fat, 20% protein, and 10% carbohydrates.
The cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD): This diet consists of 5 ketogenic days followed by 2 high carb days.
The targeted ketogenic diet (TKD): This diet allows you to eat carbohydrates in between workouts.
The high-protein ketogenic diet is similar to the standard ketogenic diet, but it contains more protein. Typically, the ratio is 60% fat, 35% protein, and 5% carbohydrates.
Only the standard and high protein ketogenic diets, however, have received extensive research. More advanced methods, such as cyclical or targeted ketogenic diets, are primarily used by bodybuilders or athletes.
This article primarily applies to the standard ketogenic diet (SKD), though many of the same principles apply to the other versions as well.
What exactly is ketosis?
Ketosis is a metabolic state in which your body burns fat for fuel rather than carbohydrates.
It happens when you drastically reduce your carbohydrate intake, limiting your body’s supply of glucose (sugar), which is the primary source of energy for the cells.
The most effective way to enter ketosis is to follow a ketogenic diet. In general, this entails limiting carbohydrate consumption to 20 to 50 grams per day and focusing on fats such as meat, fish, eggs, nuts, and healthy oils.
It’s also critical to limit your protein intake. This is due to the fact that protein can be converted into glucose in large quantities, which may slow your transition into ketosis.
Intermittent fasting may also help you enter ketosis faster. Intermittent fasting can take many forms, but the most common involves limiting food intake to around 8 hours per day and fasting for the remaining 16 hours.
There are blood, urine, and breath tests that can help you determine whether you’ve entered ketosis by measuring the number of ketones produced by your body.
Certain symptoms, such as increased thirst, dry mouth, frequent urination, and decreased hunger or appetite, may also indicate that you’ve entered ketosis.
Ketogenic diets can help you lose weight
A ketogenic diet is an effective way to lose weight and reduce disease risk factors.
In fact, research suggests that the ketogenic diet may be just as effective as a low-fat diet for weight loss.
Furthermore, the diet is so filling that you can lose weight without counting calories or keeping track of what you eat.
Furthermore, it resulted in lower diastolic blood pressure and triglyceride levels.
Another study of 34 elderly people discovered that those who followed a ketogenic diet for 8 weeks lost nearly five times as much total body fat as those who followed a low fat diet.
Increased ketones, lower blood sugar levels, and improved insulin sensitivity could all play a role.
Read this article for more information on the weight loss effects of a ketogenic diet.
Ketogenic diets for diabetes and prediabetes
Diabetes is distinguished by metabolic changes, high blood sugar levels, and impaired insulin function.
The ketogenic diet can assist you in losing excess fat, which is linked to type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
An older study discovered that the ketogenic diet increased insulin sensitivity by 75%.
A small study in women with type 2 diabetes discovered that following a ketogenic diet for 90 days significantly reduced levels of haemoglobin A1C, a measure of long-term blood sugar control.
Another study of 349 people with type 2 diabetes found that those who followed a ketogenic diet lost 26.2 pounds (11.9 kg) on average over a 2-year period. This is a significant advantage when considering the link between obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Furthermore, they had better blood sugar control, and the use of certain blood sugar medications decreased among participants throughout the study.
For more information, read this article on the benefits of low-carb diets for diabetics.
Health Benefits of Keto Diets
The ketogenic diet was developed to treat neurological diseases such as epilepsy.
Several studies have now shown that the diet can benefit a wide range of different health conditions:
Cardiovascular disease The ketogenic diet can help reduce risk factors such as body fat, HDL (good) cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels.
Cancer. Because it may help slow tumour growth, the diet is currently being investigated as an additional cancer treatment.
Alzheimer’s disease The keto diet may help reduce Alzheimer’s disease symptoms and slow its progression.
It may not be suitable for elite athletes or those looking to gain a lot of muscle or weight.
It may also be incompatible with some people’s lifestyles and preferences. Speak with your doctor about your eating habits and goals to determine whether a keto diet is right for you.
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